As violence rages in Benue state, 50,000 people have been forced out of their homes to survive. The refugees have fled the region to escape increasing violence between local farmers and the Fulani nomadic cattle herders; the conflict is occurring at the same time militant group Boko Haram is gaining power and influence in Northern Nigeria.
Refugees now occupy abandoned buildings, as there are no official camps set up. Humanitarian groups are working to satisfy the needs of the masses of homeless; food, clean water, mosquito nets, cooking equipment, and toiletries are being distributed. Still, the spread of disease is a concern with many people in close quarters.
Christian Aid Nigeria spokesman Charles Usie said, "Farming is the primary occupation in Benue state and the main source of income for most households…As well as people losing their lives, violent attacks during this conflict have destroyed farmlands leaving people homeless and jobless.”
Philanthropist groups are now urging Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to respond to the dire situation.
"This is another example of the growing insecurity in the country but we must put pressure on the authorities -- they cannot ignore the crisis in Benue,” said Usie.
Publication date: July 8, 2014